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How To Choose The Best POS Cash Drawer

How To Choose The Best POS Cash Drawer

Cash Drawers by Star Micronics.

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Choosing the best POS cash drawer might seem straightforward, but it’s more intricate than it appears. While cash drawers may seem like simple metal boxes designed to secure money, selecting the ideal one for your business involves several critical considerations.

For business owners and decision-makers, the complexity increases with questions about fit, capacity, and functionality. How will the cash drawer fit into your workspace? Does it have sufficient space to handle your daily transaction volume? What type of till best suits your operational needs? And, perhaps most importantly, how do you balance these requirements against your budget?

Star is dedicated to simplifying your decision-making process. Let’s examine some key factors you should consider to ensure you choose the best POS cash drawer for your business.

1. Connectivity

First, let’s discuss connectivity options when it comes to cash drawers. Many overlook this important factor, only to realize how critical it is. Making sure your cash drawers work with your point-of-sale (POS) system is a must! Researching what hardware works with your POS software ahead of time will save you headaches. You’ll want to make sure the cash drawer works with your system’s peripherals and accessories as well, such as a POS scale or scanner.

The most common type of connectivity for cash drawers is a printer-driven interface, which means the cash drawer is controlled through the printer’s DK port. The DK port, which stands for Drawer Kick, sends a 24V DC signal that opens the drawer. The majority of cash drawers use this function.

Another way to open a cash drawer is quite obvious: manually with a key. Most cash drawers actually have both DK port connectivity and manual key access. This allows the drawer to be opened in case the electricity acts up.

There are also wireless cash functions controlled by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These tend to be more expensive and not as common, but they are an option.

Finally, don’t forget to check how a cash drawer is powered before you buy. Some use the USB interface only, getting power from the computer they’re attached to, while others need to plug into an outlet. Make sure to put your cash drawer in an area that works.

2. Security

Needless to say, security is a huge consideration when looking to purchase a cash drawer. To start, here are some options to look for:

  • An additional lock that secures the drawer itself to the counter.
  • A locking till cover, so when you need to take the till to the back office at closing time, cash can’t be stolen during transport.
  • A universal key, so that cash drawers are easier to open in a rush and during an emergency. There is no need to look through a huge key ring for the correct key.
  • A manual release option, so you can open the cash drawer no matter what. Manual release is quicker than waiting for a Bluetooth signal and even faster than some DK port signals.
  • Hidden locked compartments, which require extra space and likely a higher budget.

How many people will be using the drawer at one time? How much money do you want to keep inside? Think about your day-to-day operations and how the money will be handled, then make a list of necessities for security and be sure your new cash drawer fulfills each one.

3. Size & Cash Flow

Next, you want to make sure your new cash drawer is going to fit in its space. Either there’s already an allotted area you have in mind, or you have some different options to play with. Whichever it is, you’ll need to measure the space correctly (width, height, and length) and consider your cash flow to find the right-sized cash drawer for you. 

Some important questions to ask yourself are: will your drawer be on top of the counter or mounted below? Will there be important items on top of the cash drawer? Is there enough space for the till to fully open with a person comfortably behind it?

Some cash drawers specifically come with below-counter mounting options, so it’s important to figure this out ahead of time. You’ll also want to know the height of the drawer.

On the market, there are normally two different sizes for cash drawers: a smaller option (typically 13” x 13”) and a larger option (typically 16” x 16” and larger). Most cash drawers are 4-5 inches in height, but be sure to check.

The CD3-1616 Value Cash Drawer by Star Micronics.
Star's cash drawers come in a variety of sizes to suit multiple industries.

Currency & Media

Now, which currency do you use? Cash drawer tills (the part of the cash drawer that holds the money) come in several different sizes with distinct layouts for different currencies. Some tills have room for the US standard (five bills and four coins).

Other tills come with room for more coins or bills if larger, higher-value bills, such as $100, are accepted. They could also have options to adjust sections or remove coin trays entirely. There are also tills available specifically for Canadian and Latin American currencies.

Finally, you’ll want to know how your POS system opens your cash drawer (if it opens electronically). Some systems open the drawer on every transaction, while others open for cash transactions only. 

Especially if you handle a lot of credit card slips, coupons, or checks, be sure to choose a cash drawer with media slots in the front. Media slots are openings in the drawer that receipts or other documents are fed into. These documents are securely stored beneath the till, in a hidden space. You may even want added space beneath the till for extra coin rolls or bills.

Use the Cash Drawer Selector Tool

Effortlessly find the ideal cash drawer for your business with our Cash Drawer Selector Tool—filter options by width, region, connection type, and more to ensure a perfect fit.

4. Durability

Next on the list of considerations is durability. Why would anyone want a cash drawer to be of poor quality?

You’ll want to know exactly what a cash drawer is made of. Cash drawers like Star’s are made of steel, which not only makes your investment worthwhile, but is also a security feature.

A cash drawer should also have a multi-year warranty. Be sure to choose a warranty that includes at least 1 million opens. It would also be smart to have a strengthened key, so it doesn’t break, while having an outer finish that can withstand abuse from the surrounding environment.

5. Style & Design

Although not as important as the above considerations, how your cash drawer looks should factor in your decision at least a little. Usually, you’ll want a cash drawer that matches the look and feel of your counter space and other POS components.

For example, if you have a white receipt printer and white tablet-based POS stand, choosing a white cash drawer will help provide a sleek look to your counter.

The look of your cash drawer is something that only you can decide. Cash drawers come in many different colors, sizes, and styles, but I would recommend you consider the top factors first. 

Cash drawers are must-have items for the majority of businesses. Knowing how to choose the best POS cash drawer for yours can save time and money, all while creating a secure, efficient, and productive business.

Meet Star's Cash Drawers

Star Micronics is proud to offer feature-rich cash drawers for any budget or application.

Value Series

The Value Series includes cost-effective cash drawers that integrate seamlessly into any retail or hospitality environment. Connected to a standard printer communication interface with a bottom exit cable, Star’s Value Series cash drawers are reliable and come with a standard warranty. They also feature four lock functions: locked, closed, online (opens electronically), manual open, and locked open.

Choice Series

Our Choice Series cash drawers include features businesses already know and love, but with added strength to support touch tablets and POS terminals on top. They also have a secure dual-drawer cable, enabling the Choice Series to work as either cash drawer 1 or cash drawer 2.

These drawers also include a foldable hinged key which minimizes the possibility of breaking off in the lock, with over 10 different lockset options for added security.

Max Series

Max Series cash drawers are the premier choice for retailers. Featuring durable, high-quality drawers with Kensington lock compatibility and sleek Star branding, these cash drawers are designed to securely manage cash while delivering professional looks and reliability. They also feature four lock functions: locked, closed, online (opens electronically), manual open, and locked open.

Find the Ideal Cash Drawer for Your Business

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